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UNWTO Members Support Leadership and Back Plan for Tourism’s Future

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UNWTO Members Support Leadership and Back Plan for Tourism’s Future - TRAVELINDEXMadrid, Spain, December 2, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The Member States of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) have strongly aligned themselves behind its leadership and vision for the sector. Coming together for the 24th General Assembly in Madrid, Spain, Members from every global region approved the Organization’s Programme of Work and endorsed key initiatives designed to build a more a resilient, inclusive and sustainable tourism.

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

The General Assembly has brought together more than 1,000 delegates from 135 countries, including 84 Ministers of Tourism as well as business leaders, destinations and representatives of key international organizations. Opening the General Assembly, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili cited the spirit of solidarity and determination that has defined tourism’s response to an unprecedented crisis. In presenting his Report to Members, he made clear how a focus on collaboration and harmonization of protocols, political advocacy and securing financial support for tourism, have help the sector mitigate the impacts of the pandemic and laid the foundations for tourism’s restart in many parts of the country.

UN and International Community Backing

We must make the most of this opportunity – to transform goodwill into concrete support

Mr Pololikashvili said: “In every global region, the pandemic has made clear the importance of our sector – for economic growth, for jobs and trade, and for protecting natural and cultural heritage. We must make the most of this opportunity – to transform goodwill into concrete support.”

Emphasizing the significance of the General Assembly, as well as UNWTO’s elevated stature within the global agenda, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed delegates and called for them to work together for a “green, inclusive, sustainable” future. Mr Guterres added: “I commend UNWTO and Secretary-General Pololikashvili and hope the decisions taken at the General Assembly will help restore trust in travel and get the world moving safely do developing economies can reap the benefits of sustainable tourism.”

The United Nations Secretary-Generals words of support were echoed by the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, by Rebeca Greenspan, Secretary-General, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), by Juan Carlos Salazar Gómez, Secretary-General of the International Civil Aviation Organization, and by Vice-President of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas.

Alongside receiving an updated on UNWTO’s activities since the last General Assembly two years ago, Members also benefited from a comprehensive overview of the latest tourism trends, as indicated by UNWTO’s latest data, as well as an updated overview of restrictions on travel worldwide. From the floor of the Assembly, Members from different global regions expressed their solidarity with countries impacted by the continued imposition of travel restrictions. Also in Madrid, Member States voted in person to approve the UNWTO Executive Council’s nomination of Mr Pololikashvili to serve as Secretary-General for a second term. On the back of the strongly favorable vote, Mr Pololikashvili will lead UNWTO from 2022 to 2025.

UNWTO Again Welcomes Royal Approval

On the eve of the General Assembly, His Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain praised UNWTO’s “outstanding work” leading global tourism, most notably over the past 18 months during the worst crisis in the sector’s history. At a special Royal Gala Dinner, His Majesty also emphasized the importance of tourism for economies and societies, both in Spain and globally, making the sector’s recovery essential for many millions of people.

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

First published at

First published at – Global Travel News

UNWTO General Assembly Underway in Madrid

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UNWTO General Assembly Underway in Madrid - TRAVELINDEXMadrid, Spain, December 1, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Tourism leaders from every global region have arrived in Madrid for the 24th Session of the UNWTO General Assembly. Ministers of Tourism will be joined by representatives of international organizations and from across the private sector for the first truly global tourism meeting to be held since the start of the pandemic, with innovation, education and investments high on the agenda.

In all, more than 1,000 participants, representing 135 countries and including 84 Ministers and Vice-Ministers of Tourism will attend the most important meeting of the United Nations specialized agency for tourism.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “Guided by UNWTO, global tourism is facing up to the challenges of today while looking to the opportunities of tomorrow. The UNWTO General Assembly shows the sector’s determination to restart, lead recovery and be a central pillar of sustainable development and climate action.”

Towards an International Code for the Protection of Tourists

The UNWTO General Assembly shows the sector’s determination to restart, lead recovery and be a central pillar of sustainable development and climate action

UNWTO opened the General Assembly with an Induction Session for the International Code for the Protection of Tourists. Launched in response to the drop in consumer confidence caused by the pandemic, the landmark legal code will provide minimum standards and consumer rights for tourists in emergency situations. It was developed in collaboration with 98 Member States and Associate Members as well as 5 non-member States international organizations and leading private sector stakeholders. Once adopted by the UNWTO General Assembly, the Code will be presented to the United Nations General Assembly in 2022 with the aim of making it a Resolution.

Affiliate Members Meet to Reform and Restart

Held within the framework of the General Assembly, UNWTO’s Affiliate Members met today for their 43rd annual Plenary Session. Made up of businesses and destinations, as well as representatives from civil society and academic, UNWTO counts on more than 500 Affiliates to transform tourism policy into action. In Madrid, participants were given an overview of UNWTO’s crisis response, with the Destination Tracker developed by in partnership with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) presented as an example of effective public-private partnerships. At the same time, delegates approved the proposed Reform of the Legal Framework for UNWTO Affiliate Membership, paving the way for more effective collaboration

Executive Council Endorses Key Initiatives

Ahead of the official opening of the General Assembly, UNWTO convened its Executive Council for a 114th session. The Council, which serves as the governing board of UNWTO, met to hear Secretary-General Pololikashvili present his report on the work done since the 113th session, also held in Madrid at the start of the year. The Members of the Executive Council agreed to the iimplementation of the General Programme of Work for 2020-2021 and for 2022-2023. Members also endorsed several key UNWTO initiatives, notably the UNWTO Recommendations on Tourism for Rural Development, the Best Tourism Villages project and the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative.

Also meeting in Madrid, the UNWTO Committees on Tourism and Sustainability, on Tourism and Competitiveness and on Tourism Online Education, brought together experts to explore ways to advance the Organization’s Programme of work around key priority areas.

First published at

First published at – Global Travel News

UNWTO and Council of Europe to Promote Cultural Routes

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UNWTO and Council of Europe to Promote Cultural Routes - TRAVELINDEXBrussels, Belgium, November 26, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Council of Europe will work together to develop the opportunities tourism offers to local communities and to enhance the tourist experience along the European region’s Cultural Routes.

The joint actions will be aimed at recognizing the added value that cultural routes offer for sustainable tourism development, cultural heritage safeguarding and intercultural dialogue. The collaboration will also further highlight the routes’ potential for advancing social, economic and cultural development, benefitting both Europe and its partner countries by strengthening cultural and historical ties.

All along the Cultural Routes, tourism has the power to support jobs and create other development opportunities for communities

International Year of Creative Economy 2021

The two organizations will be collaborating first in the sphere of creative tourism, to showcase good practices in line with the International Year of Creative Economy 2021, and further promote destinations encompassed by the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes (EPA) of the Council of Europe.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “All along the Cultural Routes, tourism has the power to support jobs and create other development opportunities for communities. It is also a chance to protect and promote cultural heritage and to celebrate creativity.”

Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić adds: “The Cultural Routes programme plays an important role in the promotion of Europe’s rich cultural heritage, in addition to being an effective tool for fostering intercultural dialogue and transnational co-operation.

We are delighted that the UN’s World Tourism Organisation will contribute its expertise to the Cultural Routes programme on the basis of this Memorandum of Understanding.”

Enhancing accessibility

The partnership will also see UNWTO and the Council of Europe harness their individual expertise and technical capabilities to further develop Cultural Routes, through research, training and policymaking. Special attention will be paid to the mapping of Cultural Routes and to promoting greater accessibility for persons with disabilities and specific access requirements.

First published at – Global Travel News

First published at – Global Travel News

First Regional Conference in Kuala Lumpur on Women’s Empowerment

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First Regional Conference in Kuala Lumpur on Women’s Empowerment

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, November 24, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / UNWTO’s Members from across Asia and the Pacific came together to advance the tourism sector’s contribution to gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The UNWTO Regional Conference on the Empowerment of Women in Tourism in Asia and the Pacific – the first event on the topic organized by UNWTO jointly with Malaysia’s Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture – brought together more than 500 key virtual participants in addition to around 100 local in-person stakeholders. Alongside UNWTO experts, government policymakers, UN Women representatives, high-level representatives of women’s associations and NGOs, joined leading academics to address some of the key challenges and opportunities for women in tourism in the region.

In Asia and the Pacific, women make up 53% of the tourism workforce. However, they remain concentrated in lower paid-positions and tens to have poorer working conditions. As in other regions of the world, high-level and leadership positions seem to be the sole prerogative of men. The aim of this conference was to contribute to international efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG5) on gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in light of how the pandemic has worsened the socio-economic situation of the female tourism workforce in the region.

In her welcome and opening remarks, H.E. Dato’ Sri Nancy Shukri, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture of Malaysia reinforced this main objective of the conference and said  “As part of efforts to advance a more inclusive recovery for the tourism sector which is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and particularly SDG 5 on gender equality, I believe this conference will provide us with deep insights on strategies and the future prospects for women in tourism in the Asia-Pacific region.”

The discussions of the conference focused on the six thematic pillars of UNWTO’s Action Plan on Women in Tourism. These include women’s employment and leadership; entrepreneurship; education and training for the realities of post-COVID19 tourism; and data and statistics for an inclusive recovery. Based on these thematic areas, the conference explored how tourism’s immense potential for advancing women’s economic empowerment can be further enhanced through the implementation of the right recovery policies and strategies.

First published at – Global Travel News

First published at – Global Travel News

UNWTO Looks to Future with EU Tourism Ministers

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UNWTO Looks to Future with EU Tourism Ministers

Ljubljana, Slovenia, November 20, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The UNWTO leadership has addressed an informal meeting of EU Ministers Responsible for Tourism, further strengthening ties with the European Institutions.

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

The Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the European Union included tourism on its programme of work, recognizing the sector’s heightened relevance and importance for inclusive, post-pandemic recovery. Addressing the Ministers, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili commended European leaders for protecting tourism jobs and businesses, and for playing a leading role in restoring confidence in international travel through harmonized rules and protocols and the introduction of the EU Digital COVID Certificate.

At the same time, the Secretary-General also provided the EU Ministers with an overview of UNWTO’s own work leading the sector’s response to the crisis, as well as more recent achievements advancing tourism’s climate action. Margaritis Schinas, Vice President of the European Commission, played an active role in the UNWTO Global Tourism Crisis Committee, created to unite the sector and provide clear, harmonized recommendations for recovery, and has also visited the UNWTO Headquarters in Madrid for face-to-face talks with the Secretary-General.

Strengthening ties

This latest intervention further strengthens the ties between UNWTO and the European Institutions, building on the work done prior to the pandemic. In February 2020, the UNWTO leadership visited Brussels. As well as addressing the European Parliament, Secretary-General Pololikashvili also met with Ministers and Secretaries of State for tourism of European Countries, making clear the role the sector can play in driving inclusive growth across the region and in advancing the ambitions of the European Green Deal. More recently, the UNWTO leadership returned to Brussels in October, with a more in-depth agenda focusing on tourism’s place in recovery and future growth for European economies and societies.

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

Following on from the informal meeting of EU Ministers Responsible for Tourism, UNWTO also took part in the 20th European Tourism Forum, also held against the backdrop of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Europe’s Tourism Ministers will then be part of the upcoming UNWTO General Assembly, scheduled to take place in Madrid, Spain, 30 November to 3 December.

First published at – Global Travel News

First published at – Global Travel News

UNWTO, Panama and NOAH to Create UN Fund for Climate Neutrality

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UNWTO, Panama and NOAH to Create UN Fund for Climate Neutrality

Panama City, Panama, November 14, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Within the framework of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change COP26, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Government of Panama and the business group NOAH agreed to work together for the implementation of the United Nations Fund for Climate Neutrality of Tourism. The Fund represents an innovative financing instrument promoted by UNWTO to respond to threats posed by the climate emergency.

In recognition of the existential threat posed by the climate emergency, UNWTO, the government of Panama and NOAH (Network of Ocean Ambassadors Headquarters) will support the creation of a Capital Fund that will make possible the UN Fund for the Climate Neutrality of Tourism and the creation of a Smart Carbon Exchange Market (MIIC). Led by NOAH together with UNWTO, this market aims to promote the exchange of carbon credits in the most efficient way.

Mobilizing resources

With this agreement, Panama ratifies its climate leadership and its efforts to conserve and regenerate nature and, at the same time, unleash economic growth through tourism that benefits local communities. Panama is one of only three carbon negative countries in the world – that is, it absorbs more greenhouse gases than it emits.

These projects reflect UNWTO’s commitment to transform the tourism sector to accelerate the decarbonization of the sector

The Minister of Tourism of Panama, Iván Eskildsen, highlighted “the role of UNWTO in bringing together a leader in climate response like Panama, firmly committed to tourism as a pillar for the future of people and the planet, and NOAH that will contribute technological and financial solutions to mobilize the necessary resources for a sustainable future for the benefit of all.”

“These projects reflect UNWTO’s commitment to transform the tourism sector to accelerate the decarbonization of the sector,” said UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili. He stressed that this is an example of success based on cooperation between “the UN system, international organizations, UNWTO Member States and the private sector in general”.

Towards “Blue Carbon”

With Panama serving as a pilot country for these initiatives, NOAH will prepare a study in coordination with the Ministry of the Environment to estimate the “blue carbon” reserves in mangroves and seagrasses in protected areas of the country, as well as the reserves of carbon in wetlands.

For his part, the founder of NOAH, Frederic Degret, confirmed that “to articulate this great project, Panama will host the international headquarters of an Intelligent Carbon Exchange Market, as we have agreed in the Memorandum of Understanding signed between UNWTO and NOAH.”

The UNWTO, NOAH and Panama ensure the transition to a tourism sector with net zero emissions and focused on improving people’s lives.

First published at – Global Travel News

First published at – Global Travel News

Putting Women’s Empowerment Centre Stage in Tourism’s Recovery

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Putting Women’s Empowerment Centre Stage in Tourism’s Recovery

Madrid, Spain, November 13, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has launched the ‘Centre Stage’ project, with the support of German Federal Ministry for Economic Development (BMZ), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and UN Women.

Over the course of one year, from November 2021 – November 2022, the project will support the tourism sector in placing women’s empowerment and gender equality at the heart of recovery plans following the COVID-19 pandemic. The project will be piloted in four participating Member States in collaboration with the National Tourism Administrations of Jordan (MOTA), Costa Rica (ICT), the Dominican Republic (MITUR) and Mexico (SECTUR).

The impact of COVID-19 on women in tourism

Women make up more than half of the tourism workforce at a global level (54%), according to the Global Report on Women in Tourism, Second Edition. However, women are often concentrated in low-skilled or informal work and have fewer opportunities for education and career development. As a result, women in the sector have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, with less access to social protections and a reduced capacity to absorb the economic shock caused by the pandemic.

Nevertheless, the tourism sector has historically provided women with opportunities for empowerment, offering many a livelihood and source of autonomy. For this reason, UNWTO has identified the recovery phase of the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to address the gender inequality in the sector.

Concrete measures towards gender equality

Under the ‘Centre Stage’ project, the participating National Tourism Administrations and tourism businesses will implement a one-year action plan containing a series of concrete measures designed to increase opportunities for women’s empowerment. They will be supported by local NGOs, professional organizations and be accompanied by UNWTO through a series of virtual and in-person training opportunities.

The measures included in the Action Plans span the 6 areas of work considered key for gender equality and women’s empowerment in tourism: Employment; Entrepreneurship; Education and training; Leadership, policy and decision making; Community and civil society; Measurement for better policies. The measures have been targeted to the needs identified in the four pilot countries and look to address the specific challenges women face in each.

A total of 10 tourism businesses and 4 NGOs/community organizations will join the participating National Tourism Administrations to implement the measures. UNWTO recently organized two informative webinars for participants from Jordan as well as Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Mexico.

The activities of ‘Centre Stage’ will get underway in November 2021 and include training sessions with a gender focus, personalized guidance aiming to improve working conditions for women in the sector and producing data on the effects of the pandemic on female employment in tourism.

First published at – Global Travel News

First published at – Global Travel News

UNWTO and Instagram Partner to Help Destinations Recover and Rediscover

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UNWTO and Instagram Partner to Help Destinations Recover and Rediscover - TRAVELINDEXMadrid, Spain, November 11, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / UNWTO and Instagram have joined forces to produce a ‘Tourism Recovery Playbook’, and so help destinations and business harness the power of digital and visual storytelling to reach new audiences and return to growth.

This first ever partnership with Instagram forms part of UNWTO’s wider shift towards harnessing the power of digital innovation to drive the restart of tourism, especially local and sustainable tourism. It also represents Instagram’s recognition of tourism as a leading provider of livelihoods and global opportunity, welcoming UNWTO as partners in a first structured effort to use the platform as a tool to help kickstart the sector’s recovery. The partnership was announced against the backdrop of World Travel Market in London, the leading tourism trade fair where UNWTO brings together political and business leaders, and after of UNWTO amplifying tourism’s unified response to the climate emergency at the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow.

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

Expert insights into storytelling for tourism

UNWTO’s partnership with Instagram will show that safe, responsible travel is possible, and to illustrate how just one tourist can make a big difference

The Recovery Playbook provides insights into making the most of the platform, from producing Reels to showcase destinations to using Guides and other tools to illustrate how the sector is ready to welcome tourists back safely and responsibly. It also explores the best ways to encourage renewed local travel, while raising environmental awareness. Alongside best practice and tips on effective tourism storytelling, the publication also features case studies of small businesses and destinations have successfully used Instagram to connect with key audiences during the pandemic.

In his foreword to the Tourism Recovery Playbook, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili says: “As parts of the world begin cautiously opening up again, now is the time to be creative in showing why tourism matters – for individuals, for our communities and for our planet. UNWTO’s partnership with Instagram will show that safe, responsible travel is possible, and to illustrate how just one tourist can make a big difference.”

“We know countless small businesses and destinations are ready to welcome the world back to their doorsteps,” said Asya Kislyuk, Policy Programs Manager at Instagram. “Instagram is proud to provide a playbook for people to help make it happen when the time is right – safely
and sustainably.”

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

Advancing UNWTO’s digital shift

This first collaboration with Instagram builds on UNWTO’s ongoing turn towards greater use of digital tools and visual storytelling to make clear the relevance and importance of tourism to economies, societies, and planet. The Organization has accelerated this shift in its efforts to scale up Member support and enable them to better seize the advantages of digital communications platforms.

First published at – Global Travel News

First published at – Global Travel News

Tourism Unites Behind Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action at COP26

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Tourism Unites Behind Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action at COP26 - TRAVELINDEXGlasgow, Scotland, UK, November 6, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The Glasgow Declaration for Climate Action in Tourism was launched today at the UN Climate Change Conference COP26. Some of tourism’s biggest businesses have joined governments and destinations in committing to cut emissions in half by 2030 and achieve Net Zero by 2050 at the latest.

The Glasgow Declaration recognizes the urgent need for a globally consistent plan for climate action in tourism. Signatories commit to measure, decarbonize, regenerate and unlock finance. Additionally, each signatory commits to deliver a concrete climate action plan, or updated plan, within 12 months of signing.

Speaking at COP26, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili stressed that “while many private businesses have led the way in advancing climate action, a more ambitious sector-wide approach is needed to ensure tourism accelerates climate action in a meaningful way”. He added that “the Glasgow Declaration is a tool to help bridge the gap between good intentions and meaningful climate action”.

Already, more than 300 tourism stakeholders have signed up to the Declaration, including leading industry players to destinations, countries and other tourism stakeholders ranging from large to small. The Glasgow Declaration was developed through the collaboration of UNWTO, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Visit Scotland, the Travel Foundation and Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency, within the framework of the One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme committed to accelerate sustainable consumption and production patterns.

The Glasgow Declaration is a tool to help bridge the gap between good intentions and meaningful climate action

“WTTC is delighted to be a supporter and launch partner to the Glasgow Declaration and thereby add our voice, the voice of the global private sector, to this important collective call for heightened ambition in the travel and tourism sector. The Glasgow Declaration is a real opportunity for travel and tourism to unite and show true leadership as we strive towards Net Zero”, said Julia Simpson, President and CEO, WTTC.

“Through the Glasgow Declaration, the One Planet Network‘s Sustainable Tourism Programme offers a common platform to catalyze climate action in tourism. This Initiative is fundamental to create the right momentum to accelerate climate action in tourism through sustainable consumption and production”, said Mr  Jorge  Laguna-Celis, Head of the One Planet Network Secretariat, Economy Division, UNEP.

“As UN High-Level Climate Action Champions, we warmly welcome the Glasgow Declaration and recognise the efforts of the over 300 Launch Partners. This is a pivotal step, aligning the tourism sector on our Race to Zero campaign’s goal of halving emissions by 2030 and achieving Net Zero by 2050 at the latest”, said Gonzalo Muñoz, High-Level Climate Champion.

The launch event at COP26 featured a panel discussion underscoring the importance of increased climate action and ambition in the tourism sector, with contributions from David W. Panuelo, President of the Federated States of Micronesia alongside Iván Eskildsen, Minister of Tourism for Panama; Jan Christian Vestre, Minister of Trade and Industry for Norway; Patrick Child, Deputy Director General for the Environment at the European Commission; Julia Simpson, CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council; Catherine Dolton, Trustee and Treasurer of the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance; Darrell Wade, Co-founder and Chairman, Intrepid Group; and Jeremy Smith, Co-founder of Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency.

The more than 300 signatories include businesses, countries, tourism stakeholders and destinations, among them:

  • Accor
  • AITO – The Specialist Travel Association
  • ANVR – Dutch Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators
  • Asian Ecotourism Network
  • Panama
  • Barbados
  • Bilbao Convention Bureau
  • Bucuti & Tara
  • Cairngorns National Park Authority
  • Dallas Fort Worth Airport
  • ETOA – European Tourism Association
  • Forum Anders Reisen
  • Future of Tourism Coalition
  • GSTC – Global Sustainable Tourism Council
  • Iberostar Group
  • Innovation Norway
  • Intrepid Travel
  • Legacy Vacation Resorts
  • Much Better Adventures
  • Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions
  • NECSTouR – Network of European Regions for Sustainable and Competitive Tourism
  • Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
  • Pacific Tourism Organization
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Skyscanner
  • Sustainable First
  • Sustainable Hospitality Alliance
  • The Long Run
  • Tourism Authority of Kiribati
  • Travalyst Limited
  • Travelindex Group
  • VisitScotland
  • World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC)

First published at – Global Travel News

First published at – Global Travel News

UNWTO Secretary-General, Climate Emergency is Bigger Threat than Covid’

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UNWTO Secretary-General, Climate Emergency is Bigger Threat than Covid - TRAVELINDEXGlasgow, Scotland, UK, November 5, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The head of the United Nations World Tourism Organization has warned that the “climate emergency is a bigger threat than Covid”.

Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of UNWTO, said the pandemic has hit tourism harder than any other sector. Tourism needs support from governments, through stronger public-private partnerships and through more and better-targeted financing investments, to rebuild in a sustainable and inclusive way.

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

He made his comments during the UNWTO, WTTC & WTM Ministers’ Summit, held on the second day of WTM London, with tourism ministers from across the world discussing investing in tourism’s sustainable future.

“This summit gives us the chance to strengthen our advocacy on sustainability”, Pololikashvili said.

He told delegates that the recent Rome Leaders Declaration issued by the G20 specifically emphasized the need to restore travel and tourism, which in turn can help developing economies.

He said public investment will “encourage and leverage” private investment all over the world, adding: “Tourism can benefit if governments deliver the right support.

This summit gives us the chance to strengthen our advocacy on sustainability

“Going back to the old normal is not an option.”

He also said tourism represents a risk-free investment opportunity and highlighted the need to invest in education and youth on the way to net zero.

The UNWTO, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and other tourism and travel stakeholders will officially launch the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism at the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26  on Thursday (4 November).

The WTTC is also planning to launch the Net Zero Roadmap for Travel & Tourism, to support the industry in combatting climate change, as part of the sector’s drive towards net zero by 2050.

The initiative is being run in collaboration with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and professional services and consulting experts Accenture.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President and CEO, told the summit: “We have no alternative; we have to go green.”

She said sustainable growth is a key priority for the WTTC, adding: “Investors and the public demand that we invest to protect the planet and people.

“We need to invest in making sure destinations are great places to live and not just great places to visit.”

Nigel Huddleston MP, UK Tourism Minister, agreed, saying: “The partnership between private and public sectors is spurred by the consumer.”

He said his government can offer tax incentives to encourage sustainable developments, such as deductions for solar power and electric vehicle charging points.

Rita Marques, Secretary of State for Tourism of Portugal, outlined how her country is investing in green services and new ways to develop tourism across the seasons.

Massimo Garavaglia,the Italian Minister for Tourism, talked about how Italy is tackling overtourism in places such as Venice and Florence, to encourage visitors to explore other parts of Italy and its varied attractions.

Dr Khaled El-Enany, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities of Egypt – which will host the Cop27 climate conference next year – highlighted Egyptian sustainable initiatives, such as a project to protect the reefs of the Red Sea.

Memunatu Pratt, Minister of Tourism and Culture of Sierra Leone, talked about how tourism in the west African country is recovering from civil war and the outbreaks of ebola and Covid-19.

She said investments in infrastructure, transport, health care and education were being integrated with the need to develop sustainable tourism.

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

Federico González, Chief Executive at Radisson Hotel Group, highlighted the need to ensure smaller hotel owners understand how they make their properties more sustainable, and David Lavorel, Chief Executive of airport technology firm SITA, outlined how technology can help the aviation sector optimise its current assets to be more environmentally friendly.

UNWTO will also partner with Arabian Travel Market – the sister event of WTM London – which will take place on 8-11 May in Dubai.

First published at – Global Travel News

First published at – Global Travel News